Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Queensland Floods

Photo: ABC Photo Gallery


"In the early hours of this morning the water levels have actually exceeded what that levee bank is built to cope with."

We have got to hold it together. Most of us are. Most of us are all on the same page, for want of a superior expression, doing the same thing, standing close together and holding hands. We are doing it well. We have good leadership for these unprecedented events and it is serious stuff. Deadly serious. All sorts of unpredictable things are happening and will happen. So we do not need anyone to crack our resolve nor do harm. We have quite a long way to go and some of this is into uncharted territory so we need to use our brains and our skill and follow through on what has been very competent and well informed leadership.

It's very complex. It is going to continue to be complex. A lot of people and a lot of infrastructure is being affected because the floods are also in Victoria , NSW and parts of WA and Tasmania. In simple terms, if you and your family are trying to deal with a home which has been burnt down or flooded to the roof, ask yourself what you would be needing and what you would be thinking. Your life as you knew it would be gone.  You wouldn't want people to be telling you you forgot to put the rubbish bins out before Christmas,  that you forgot to pick the kids up from school  in the last week of term. You wouldn't want to be told you had forgotten to put the order in for the new cases at work or you hadn't filed the bill in the right place or you'd got fluff all  over the washing. If you had promised to buy the kids bikes for Christmas and that was when your home was destroyed, then that would not be an issue now, nor would  how much money you would have in two years' time. 

Anna Bligh and Julia Gillard have guided us ably through this. They have shown they have the capacity to do this extremely well. Anna Bligh, who is at the front of one of our biggest disasters ever, is there constantly giving out information and constantly knowing what the current information is. She hasn't suddenly changed. This is who she is and what she is capable of. Julia Gillard has been there, has kept us informed and has done her job competently .The way she delivers information is important. She is our Prime Minister and her information is being translated all over the world. Competent world leaders always speak in measured terms because we now live in an international community where important speeches are viewed all over the world in many different languages .

Most Australians have got this very right. We are in a lot of trouble here and it is something we are having to front up to each day and we shall have to front up to for many, many days to come.  It is costing billions. Billions. Lots of noughts, so a disaster of this scale has to be managed and what seems right one day may not be right the next day. Experts and informed views are vital. We have to think our way out of this. You only had to listen to the person from the ANU who was speaking about flood management on ABC24 to know we actually have some good experts in this country and that there is knowledge there we can draw on.  We also have had some well informed and competent journalists who have looked at issues without breaking  or damaging what is a very well delivered management plan. 

Those who are out there up to their necks in water and grossness have the right to be raising issues as they are cleaning up the mess and trying to deal with what is on their plate.  All those issues need to go into the melting pot and the next lot of experts we are going to need are mental health care workers because long term management of this is going to hit people hard. 

If your house has burnt down or flooded to the rooftops and you  had nothing...you would need friends to help and you would need somewhere safe to stay. You would be asking yourself how you could rebuild and pay for all of this. If you already had debt and commitments you would  be wondering  how to solve that big financial headache. Julia Gillard and Anna Bligh have to resolve that.  We are going to have to pay for all of this. Our country, our disaster. We have to fix it. I don't know how. If you know, let them know. They'd appreciate the help the same as you would if you were in a massive financial bind.

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